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Raising the floor

Labour has abandoned equality but not the "excluded"-the three million people stuck on unpopular council estates. Their lives can be improved without a big increase in spending

By Anne Power   October 1997

The decline of inner city neighbourhoods and overspill council estates around the edges of cities has become a commonplace of public debate ever since the riots of the early 1980s. Britain and other European countries began to look as though they were developing ghettos along US lines. Some neighbourhoods became no-go areas where police seemed powerless to prevent disorder.

These problems have worsened over the past 10 years, but remedies are emerging from close-up studies of the most blighted areas. Rather than arguing about whether or not Britain has an underclass, policy-makers are focusing their attention on what is actually…

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